I recently met someone who lives in Center City and is debating whether or not she should buy a car. Are you kidding me? Driving in Philadelphia is one of the worst ideas ever. Here, the ten reasons why driving in Philadelphia is a really, really positively and utterly stupid idea.
I've driven in places like Haiti, Mauritania and Guatemala, and I can report first-hand that the road conditions in some sections of Philadelphia approach those found in these developing countries. Potholes can cause tire puncture, a misaligned steering system, wheel rim damage, engine damage, and broken suspension, among other nasty vehicular things. And think it's bad now? Just wait until winter hits. If you see a big old hole in the road, fill out a Street Defect Request form with the city.
2. Bad Bicyclists
I have no qualms with the good bicyclists out there, but the bad ones seem to outnumber the good ones 2-to-1. And then they want to give you the finger.
3. The PPA
If you drive in Philadelphia with any regularity, you will get a ticket. The little Philadelphia Parking Authority dregs who walk around waiting for your time to expire may be the scum of the earth, as you'll undoubtedly call them when you inevitably get a ticket, but they are brutally efficient at their jobs. What's that you say? A ticket was given to you in error? Bullshit. Pay up.
5. Red Light Cameras
167,824 citations were issued last year thanks to Philadelphia's Red Light Camera Enforcement Program. You can try to fight it. But you'll lose.
6. Septa Isn't As Bad As You Think
Now if we could just get that New Payment Technology.
7. Slow-Crossing Pedestrians
Where I live in West Philadelphia, slow-crossing pedestrians are an epidemic. You roll up to a stop sign, and there's some dude approaching the intersection on foot. Because you're a nice, law-abiding person, you wave him across. And then you sit there for an infuriatingly long time as he strolls in front of your car and across the street. I've never done a study on this, but I bet if you set up a camera and monitor an intersection for a week, you'll find that these slow-crossing pedestrians actually cross the street more slowly when there is a car present than when there isn't. Is this a power thing? Do these slow-crossing pedestrians have nowhere to be?
8. Philly Drivers Are Awful
Perhaps the second worst in the entire country. Avoid at all costs.
And they recently lowered their rates. Having someone drive you — especially when that someone doesn't smell bad, isn't rude, usually has a bottle of water for you, and is driving a nice car — is always a better move.
10. Gas Is Still Expensive
Sorry, but I just can't get excited about $3-per-gallon.